Yes. No. Maybe. It depends.
I know – crappy answer, right? But each one can be applied to the question of losing blog subscribers and whether you should care or not.
After all, as bloggers, we’re more often than not told that “it’s all about the list”. This usually refers to an email list, and why building one is important for your blog’s growth.
I’m not going to get into the “do I need a list or not?” question – Brankica already covered that perfectly.
No, for this post, I’m going to assume you already have a list. Additionally, I’m going to talk about subscribers to your blog, as opposed to subscribers to your newsletter, as there is a difference and for many bloggers, their blog subscription list is the only one they’ll have.
So, with that in mind – should you care about losing blog subscribers? Let’s dig in.
Yes – Your Subscribers Are Everything
When you start blogging, you might have many goals. Some of them could be to make money; some could be to share your thoughts with others; and some could be just to have a platform to get your writing mojo on.
Either way, to succeed in any of these goals (with perhaps the exception of the last one), you need readers. And, if you get readers, you want them to turn into subscribers.
After all, anyone can click a link on Facebook or Twitter and come over to read your stuff. But it takes commitment from a reader to want to follow your content religiously enough to actually subscribe. They’re saying they prefer you over the millions of other bloggers out there.
Because of that, you should care on losing them, and take steps to find out why they left.
- Look at the content you wrote just prior to them unsubscribing and see if it’s a valid reason (perhaps a different tone or style from your normal stuff).
- Email them and thank them for subscribing up until then, and ask if they’d mind sharing why they left.
- If you are changing the style of your blog, and you see subscribers leaving, create a poll and ask readers their thoughts on the new direction.
By being pro-active on understanding the reasons for the unsubscribes, you can take the action needed to halt the slide.
No – It’s Your Blog and People Don’t Need to Read What They Don’t Like
The best bloggers (at least for me) are the ones that polarize opinion and question everything. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to be an asshat in all your posts – just don’t follow the herd when it comes to your opinion.
For example, if you’re blogging about blog tips, try and steer away from making every post a list one about the Top 10 this or a Best 20 that. Sure, list posts are great traffic generators and, when done well, can offer a great resource. But often they can be overdone and offer little.
Instead, share your lessons and how the most unlikeliest of sources can teach you about blogging.
Or, if you write about social media, ignore the standard “Why Google+ is great for business” posts and offer a rebuff on why the platform is struggling to be relevant for the majority of businesses out there.
By offering your stance on popular topics, especially if the stance goes against the popular grain, it helps you stand out as someone to listen to, since you clearly don’t buy into the hype of the Johnny Popularity bloggers.
Of course, the “problem” with this is that people don’t like to hear they may be wrong, or the platform they put the most love into isn’t as great as they want it to be. This is where you often lose blog subscribers – but that’s okay.
When you lose subscribers like this, it’s for a clear reason – you believe one thing and they believe another. Sure, you could try and persuade each other the merits of each other’s point of view and, sometimes, this works.
But, for the most part, people can be stubborn – and no-one benefits from a protracted discussion that clearly isn’t going to be resolved.
So, let your subscriber go. He or she clearly won’t enjoy your content if it’s against their beliefs; and you’re not going to enjoy the constant jibing from them because you don’t see eye-to-eye.
Let them find a blog that’s more suited to their stance, and leave you to write for the readers that actually want to be on your blog, because these are the ones that will be your biggest ambassadors as you grow your blog.
Of course, like any opinion piece, there’s no right answer. Well, except mine… Joke!
But the question of blog lists and subscribers is a big one, and one that has no definite right answer. After all, we all have separate goals on what we want to achieve with our blogs.
So, how about you? Do you bite your nails each time you see an unsubscribe and wonder what you did wrong? Or do you shrug, smile, and carry on as normal?
Share you own thoughts and experiences below!